Can a wood burning fire be consider as a green alternative ?

Can a wood burning fire be consider as a green alternative ? I'm confused, I was checking out comparative fuel cost on the The Solid Fuel Technology Institute website and it would appear that wood logs cost the least and have the lowest carbon emissions per kW.
http://www.soliftec.com/fuelcost.htm
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Optimistically - burning wood is carbon neutral.
It can even be carbon positive with the right woodburning stove, as the methane (a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere from rotting timber is burnt in the stove.
Practically there are aspects like transportation etc, so the carbon impact is smaller than other fuels but not zero.
Oh - and you can get 2 lots of warmth out of them. One lot when you chop them, and another from burning them;-)
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wrote:

All the local schools are being converted to this at horrible cost of £60,000+ each, so it must have something.
It seems based on that burning cheap quick growing local wood introduces a zero footprint cycle. The growing wood locks away a quantity of co2. Burning the same wood releases the co2, and around you go.
I am not sure about the validity of the model whoever. :(
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logs
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That works if you use a stone axe to fell the trees, and carry them home on your back. If on the other hand you use a chain saw and a lorry then fossil fuels start being used !
AWEM
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Andrew Mawson wrote:

Not very much.

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Wood use can be carbon negative as increased demand for wood can lead to conservation, replanting etc. This increases the amount of fixed carbon which otherwise would have been in the atmosphere as CO2. Iron making was originally wood fired and conservation/replacement was well thought out - it's usually in places where timber is not valued that de-forestation takes place. So steel tool production can be carbon negative too Throw in horse/water/wind/human/sun power, water transport by canal or sail, wood based transport by cart/carriage, wood fuelled steam engines, more use of timber in buildings, and you have a busy industrial life which would be quite sustainable without fossil fuels. We would also have a delightfully forested environment to support the demand for wood. We'd probably have to go veggie as meat is very wasteful of land, but we could catch the odd bit of game in the new forests.
cheers Jacob
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normanwisdom wrote:

at a populuation about 1/10th of what it is now, and at a level of civilization that no self respecting aborigine would touch with a long wooden spear..

Indeed. The habit of eating meat, rather than plants, is obviously so detrimental to the species that no culture that has adopted it has ever expanded or risen to a dominant position in the world.

Dream on. TNP>
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Meat production takes about 10 times the energy of veggies - so we could just about do it! More like the level of civilisation when these conditions were last in place - at the beginning of the industrial revolution before the major use of coal and well before oil. Not too bad in the late 18th century - factor in our present knowledge of science, technology, medicine etc and things could be even better.

Coincidence - if true at all. Large areas of the planet are being de-forested for meat of fodder production so it might kill us all off in the end. I'm not a veggie BTW but I wish everybody else was it'd help save the planet etc

Agree - it won't happen
cheers jacob
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normanwisdom wrote: .

TRy growing veggies in the tundra or in forests..much easier to eat the deer that can digest the lichens we cannot.. Ditto savannah. we cant digest grass, grazers can, We can digest grazers.
Agriculture for *crops* takes FAR more energy of the fossil fuel kind than meat. YOU try harvesting a ton of potatoes without any mechinical assistance, versus killing a ton of beef. And teh by products of beef production are so much more useful. Leather for shoes, glues for furniture, gelatin for jellies..what do you get out of a field of whet? straw for making rooves with at best.

Twaddle. That was the most unremitting poverty and peasant style grind alleviated only by the occasional decent meal of MEAT. At a population level about one tenth of what it is today, and with loads of coal and iron ore available to make tools with.
Not too bad in the late 18th century

Nothing can replace the fact that incredibly hard physical labour, and its detrimental effects on our health and longevity, has been replaced by machine power, allowing us to expand our population tenfold. Without machines 90% of us are dead, and the remaining 10% condemned to a life snentence of hard labour,of which you cannot possibly imagine the nature.

Life will kill us all in the end. Its simply a question of how many will be able to live off what's left over, and in what sort of lifestyle. And in company with what species.
The present world population levels are simply unsustainable.
Unles we go massively hi tech and nuclear.

It wouldn't. The planet will be allright. We won't. Going veggie changes nothing.
We garden a reasonable vegetable garden. Given the difference between the digging, planting, weeding, fertilising and harvesting of all that, which is very hard work, and simply archery-ing a deer to death and having meat for a week, I know which uses the least energy!
I am all for hunter gathering, but you can stick your veggies and agriculture up Uranus.
It remains simply a way to create and extend a peasantry whose lives are those of unremitting toil, poor diet and utterly limited stimulation. Th esole requirement for a peasant to stay in business, is the ability to produce another snivelling brat before he or she dies.
Now the world is awash with them. However it cannot last much longer.

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So why don't you keep a deer or two instead of breaking your back weeding and fighting off the slugs? The answer in part is the energy 10% - you'd need 10 times the land to live off meat alone. There is a crude ratio of 10 between solar energy input per unit of food material plant/herbivore/carnivore i.e. a carnivore effectively takes up 100 times the solar energy per unit mass compared to a plant.

I had in mind a post modern, nouveau pauvre, neo-peasant i.e. life as a self-sufficient peasant but with some of the benefits of modern life - and of course a fair distribution of wealth.
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normanwisdom wrote:

Don't need to. They wander in and out anyway.,

Not really.
You try living off woodland. I can't. Deer can.
Its the removal of forest to make way for crops that is causing half the worlds global warning anyway, accoording to the greenies.

Well worth it for the tatse alone I'd say. How long would you exist living on grass/bark anyway?

There is no fair distribution of wealth. Unfair distribution of wealth and industry is what got us out of the grueling poverty trap that agriculture put us in, in the first place.
You need wholly undeserved leisure time at someone else's expense, to develop art, literature and science. In a marginal labour based economy, no one has it unless they take it in an unfair way.
Round here we have the modern equivalent of peasants. People who work the land. It takes an intense amount of work and a lot of machinery and a devil of a lot of science to extract enough crop from the acreage to even stay in business.
If you are prepared to accept a 20 hour working day, and a population level at something like 1/10th what it is, physically burned out by age 50, and no leisure at all, then it can be done as you describe. Otherwise I suggest you emigrate to Bangladesh, and try it out for yourself. I haven't seen much science, art or literature, let alone medical advances or anything coming out of there ever.
Socialism per se has one basic flaw: It concentrates solely on slicing the cake. No one is permitted to sit there with their feet up pondering on how to bake a bigger cake.
The only truly ecologically sound lifestyle is the hunter gatherer. At population density about 1% of what it is today.
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So, what would you be willing to go without? I could be very comfortable as a nouveau pauvre, once I had acquired the trappings necessary to live out my bourgeois fantasy.
T.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Well I did more or less that..by simply stopping working as all debt was paid off.. I slashed the outgoings by more than 15k a year.
Suddenly car usage down for 15-25k miles a year to less than 8k a year.
Expenditure on 'suits' dropped to zero.
No need to eat, out drink at the pub, and take expensive foreign holidays when not stressed out by Work.
Use less hot water (no need to shower every day or more) but more spent on heating the house.
What else could I lose? all the junkmail..about half a bin a week. All the packaging on the food..another half bin a week. In fact its probably true to say that better than 90% of all our waste in teh bin is packaging or junkmail, most of which is absolutely uncecessary.
Everything that can be, is composted.
the irreducible minimum of personal energy use goes to heat the house - by far the biggest single item - and in transporting in the stuff one needs to live on. Online shopping and using the village shop helps..its more efficient to have stiff delivered than it is to collect it yourself, and often cheaper.
A fair bit goes on lighting and electrical stuff - fridges and TVs and the like.
If the whole country adopted an online stay at home/ work from home lifestyle I would say we might save 30-40% of the energy. Domestic robberies would probably vanish completely, along with urban congestion. However saving 30-40% of the energy really isn't worth pissing around with.We need to come down to 10% or less if we stick with carbon fuels.
There isn't enough land area of quality to grow enough food for the nation even if we all went veggie, and certainly not if its being used for biofuel, and/or people keep looking greedily at farmland and muttering 'low cost houses for wurkahs'
Ultra energy efficient urban housing and no car ownership at all might enable us to get down some more..but there is simply npo way we can ever go back to the sort of per capita net carbon emmissions of 300 years ago without a dramatic drop in population levels.
In short the only real answer is nuclear power - lots of it. Wind power is not that reliable..its there when its not needed and not there when it is..OK it might be that some sort of home based massive battery packs could absorb it when e.g. the grid voltage rises (showing spare capacity)especially into the 'tanks' of electric cars..
The reality is that in the short term all one can do is piss with the details, and try an engender some savings by getting rid of commuting and working from home wherever possible, and shopping online as much as possible. In the medium term nuclear fission electric is the only really viable alternative, and in the longer term fusion of some sort. For this country anyway.
Its a lot easier to deal with 50 tons of radioactive isotopes for ten thousand years than with 50 million tonnes of CO2 for 10,000 years..
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On 16 May, 13:08, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Wrong question really. We should ask; how can we cope without fossil fuels and their by products, as supplies run out and CO2 reduction is seen by all as unavoidable and essential for our survival?
cheers Jacob
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normanwisdom wrote:

Build nuclear power stations, beef up the grid and run electric vehicles, Its that simple.
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I think that at least in the short to medium term biofuels are the obvious solution, not least because we have in recent years seen an increase in the number of deisel vehicles on the road which can burn it. The problem is where to get the biomass. The problem is there is simply not enough arable land to both grow food and biofuel. However in New Zealand a biotech company has developed a method to extract biodiesel from algae grown on sewerage as part of its treatment. The left overs from the oil extraction can be a feedstock for ethanol production (on which petrol engines can run). AFAIK there has been one successful trial of the biodiesel in a car running a 50/50 mix. A trial on full biodiesel is planned.
So the bigger the metropolis, the more shit, the more shit the more fuel. So you are turning agricultural produce into fuel, but only indirectly. In rural areas farmers with a slurry problem suddenly have a slurry solution that will make money. The carbon costs of transporting fuel also just about disappear. In town in can be piped to fuel stations.
I see nothing to stop this becoming a reality. No major modifications are needed to the transport fleet. People employed in refineries can relocate to sewerage farms.
Peter
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Peter Ashby wrote:

They are not, because there is insufficient land area to generate the fuel required.
Biofuels are very handy, because they can go into the same general distribution strategy that oil companies make vast profits on. Nuclear electric leaves oil companies as fossilized dinosaurs with nowhere to go.
Hence the HUGE push on biofuels - and indeed hydrogen.
Oil companies do the chemical fuel thing. Oil companies have billions to spend on espousing whatever messagge they care. Hence last year hydrogen, this year biofuels. Its largely bollocks. I did eh sums, and after diesel used to f=grown and harvest the crop, the 10 acres of rape behind the house would probably just about keep three couples like us supplied..and that was without electricity too. 1.5 acres a head of prime agricultural per annum?. Do the sums..

All good stuff but nothing like the scale needed.

Youll be telling me next that actually like cattle, humans are basically wasteful of energy, and we should turn human food directly into biofuel, without the humans, and save the planet.

Scaling up and the numbers.
All energy is ultimately nuclear. Chemical energy just happens to be an easy way to access it in stored format. You probably get a better conversion efficiency from a few solar furnaces in the desert than you would from processing biomass.
The really key issues is that there isn't enough *usable* sunlight falling on the *usable* areas of the UK to ever make it self sufficient on either food or energy at the population levels that exist today.
So, import energy, go nuclear or let the population die.
Your choice.
Whilst it is conceivable that we might be able to exist as a post industrial society on 50% of current per capita energy, 5% is simply not doable in the short to medium term.

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yet compared with agricultural biomass plants, much of the infrastructure for this is in places or should be for water quality reasons. It could also make processing waste self funding.

No, we are however like cattle not very efficient at extracting energy from our food (yes I know we have an obesity epidemic, nevertheless). I forget the efficiency of the human gut but it is not high, and if your diet is rich in fruit and veg even less so (all that fibre). I have not actually seen estimates of how much energy you can get out of say a city of 300,000, I doubt they are quite that far on.
I have also read about a project to use the heat and CO2 output of a coal fired station to similarly grow algae for biodiesel and bioethanol production. That process is apparently energy neutral though there may be some solar/wind input too. Compared to the Carbon costs of finding, exploiting transporting, refining, transporting again etc oil it looks from a carbon budget p.o.v. a big reduction. Even if it is only a partial solution, it is likely to be a big portion implemented properly.
At the moment we are taking all that biomass and pumping it out to sea or into rivers. Biomass is a technically useful fuel source through a variety of processes, so it would be sheer madness NOT to exploit it.
Peter
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Peter Ashby wrote:

well at least this way its adding to te sequestered carbon as it turns into peat bogs etc.

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The ones that will release their carbon as the climate changes you mean? Seems sewerage isn't the only biomass resource the folks back home are exploiting:
<http://www.stuff.co.nz/4064218a11.html
From a byproduct of wool and sheepmeat production, tallow.
Peter
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